As a student artist, it’s hard to get your work out and just as tough to find an audience. Thursday night, Reggie’s Pub at Concordia University was one of many stops on the Zed Pub Tour. Armed with cheap beer, games, giveaways and prizes, the street team of Susannah Hicks and Andrea Wong were trying to educate media makers on how to make the production and distribution process easier, and how Zed can help
Currently in its fourth year of existence, and with a new concentrated format, Zed uses existing and emerging technologies such as TV, Internet and mobile platforms to broadcast short films, documentaries, animation, visual art, performance and music on the CBC.
The festive atmosphere in the pub is exactly the image Zed is trying to project to students who they want to provide their work as part of its programming. Their website asks everyone to contribute media in the form that interests them the most. “This is an opportunity for anyone to express themselves through their work to a large audience without the worry of corporate involvement or manipulation,” said Hicks.
Broadcast out of Vancouver and supported by an eclectic range of hosts from all walks of life, stories are showcased with a unique flare.
A regular Zed week of programming consists of Tuesday’s “Zed Real”, which explores documentaries dealing with the interesting irregularities of life. Wednesdays are reserved for “Zed Candid” with a focus on short films ranging in topics as experimental as circumcision and immortality, to politics and freedom of speech. “Zed Tunes” rounds out the week on Thursdays and has its ear on the best young music talent in Canada.
Thanks to the pub night, first year communications student Ian Lawrence became an automatic Zed viewer, and possible future contributor. “My work is going up on the website and hopefully it will be broadcast,” said Lawrence. “It just gives a different sight and sound.”
Vanessa Meyer and Simone Viger finally feel as though they have found a place to properly showcase their vampire film on sexual awareness. “I can’t wait to see our main characters wearing tooth condoms on television,” said Viger. No doubt Zed can’t wait either.
Of the 3000 pieces of work shown on Zed to date, half of it comes from uploads to their web page. Online, interesting and innovative works can always be found. Clam Dance by Keris Perom is a mystical late night dance journey that finds its main character prancing through a highway intersection in search of his metaphorical “clam mate.” It is also not uncommon to find bigger name celebrities such as Canadian comedian Tom Green trying to reconnect with his independent image. Green’s upcoming project on Zed will focus on his once prominent hip-hop roots
George Stroumboulopoulos, an advocate of Zed, just happened to be in town shooting a live taping of his show, “The Hour on CBC.” He said that Zed has become the only outlet for creative people. “They are not looking to make a profit like Much Music [his former employer]. Much Music has to make money to sustain itself. The best musicians don’t make music videos, and Much Music plays music videos with the best visuals, not the best music,” he said.
Stroumboulopoulos’ affection for Zed can be seen through his love of radio and the reason he stays involved with it. “What it boils down to is that radio is in the moment while music television has so much infrastructure that sometimes the art gets lost,” said Stroumboulopoulos.
Thanks to the work of the Pub Tour and its street team, Zed’s message of artistic independence and expression will not be lost.
[with files from www.zed.cbc.ca]
Zed: Tuesday to Thursday’s at 11:25p.m. on CBC channel 6 (cable 13) www.zed.cbc.ca